EPA protects Bristol Bay salmon fishery

Water Docket # EPA-R10-OW-2014-0505
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mail Code: 2822T1200
Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I am writing in support of your agency’s recent decision to move forward with a 404(c) determination aimed to protect Bristol Bay, Alaska and its valuable salmon fishery. Finalizing this determination is a necessary step to give Bristol Bay the protection it needs.

PCC Natural Markets in Seattle is a member-owned natural foods retailer with 10 regional stores, more than 55,000 members, and more than $210 million in annual sales. As a full retail partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, PCC is committed to only sell sustainable seafood including fresh, canned and frozen fish, and sushi.

In the past year, we have sold about 175,000 pounds of wild salmon, mostly from Alaska. Wild Alaskan salmon is a staple for many of our shoppers concerned about health and the environment. It also is important economically to our region, since so many fishermen live in Seattle and fish in Alaska.

As a seafood stakeholder, we have watched the decline of too many fisheries due to loss of habitat. Even billions of dollars cannot fully restore most of those fisheries following inappropriate development. For instance, in the recent Mount Polley tailings dam collapse in British Columbia, we see the result of allowing open-pit copper and gold mining within essential salmon habitat.

The Bristol Bay salmon fishery is acknowledged around the world as a premier example of sustainable fisheries management. The proposed Pebble Mine has no place there.

We support the EPA’s proposed determination and believe the agency is justified in its decision to restrict dredge and fill material at the Pebble deposit. Mining there should be prohibited.

Please issue a final 404(c) determination to guarantee large-scale mining will not have adverse impacts on Bristol Bay’s salmon and the jobs, communities and seafood industry it sustains.

Sincerely,

Randy Lee, Chief Financial Officer

PCC Natural Markets

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